The Hobbit: "the ends of worms" line

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The Hobbit: "the ends of worms" line

Postby Hazen » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:20 am

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

The opening of The Hobbit above is, of course, one of the most well known lines in all of literature. Yet despite it being familiar to millions, a close reading can still yield surprising insights! As is being discussed in another board, the phase "the ends of worms" can apply to Bag End as the place where the end of Smaug - the Great Worm - was planned! Later, when Tolkien wrote the LotR he places the end of Gríma Wormtongue near there too! There are also plenty of "nasty" wormy references that apply to Gollum too. That crafty Tolkien - how many times have I read that line - or even recited it from memory and missed the in-joke to the primary story arc! Amazing!

See Jason Fisher's blog in Lingwë: The ends of worms — and their beginnings

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